part III at wicked sheets

Sleep Series: The Benefits of a Better Night’s Rest, PT. III

Sleep it off. What’s “IT” you ask? Your waistline!

Here’s a trivia question for you – do you burn more calories while sleeping or while watching TV on the couch? Much to (probably) your surprise – you burn more calories sleeping that you do while watching TV!

All around the country, people are celebrating healthy weights this week. The United States’ love of unhealthy foods and love of sedentary lifestyles mean that our waistlines often are larger than they should be. January is the month of New Year’s resolutions and this week pushes not for fad diets and unrealistic body images – but of the importance of increasing cognizance of the foods we eat and with being physically active to increase overall health.

With regard to sleeping your way to a smaller waistline – during REM sleep, your brain is actively breaking down glucose. Getting the appropriate and recommended about of sleep is also associated with a faster overall metabolism, meaning that you burn calories more quickly during the night and throughout the day.

In contrast, the more sleep deprived you are, the harder it is to muster the energy to burn extra calories. When you’ve not slept well: tossing and turning, battling insomnia, sickness, etc., your body senses a longer waking day and tries to accommodate by conserving energy and slowing your metabolism in an attempt to balance your energy levels.

For those of you feeling perpetually hungry, it could have something to do with your Ghrelin and Leptin production. These hormones are produced by your pituitary gland and make you feel hungry first and then satiated once you’ve eaten.  Because sleep helps to regulate appetite and fullness, people who are sleep-deprived are producing more ghrelin and less leptin, which lead to more hunger pangs, cravings, and inevitably … overeating.

Quick tip for increasing fat-burning and metabolism with sleep — sleep until you’re fully rested and turn down your thermostat the night before. In some studies, sleepers in colder rooms burned 5-7% more calories than did the subjects in the warmer room.

So, go ahead and get started. Sleep it off!

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